Restoring/Detailing a Muncie 4 speed shifter - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 19, 6:01 PM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Restoring/Detailing a Muncie 4 speed shifter

Hey all,

Though I've been silent lately, the work has been progressing. Major strides have been recently taken (more coming soon elsewhere...)

Currently, I'm focusing on cleaning/restoring/detailing an original Muncie Shifter. I've never seen one until recently as I've been using a Hurst Super Comp shifter that my car came to me with (which will also be restored and possibly sold later). I found the right combination of eBay listings (4!!!) to piece together a complete unit.

While cleaning the first part to arrive I'm carefully noting metal finishes before and after cleaning (parts washer fluid). I'm requesting confirmation of what I think I'm seeing vs. what others have found:

Shifter Mounting Bracket -> Tranny Crossmember: appears to be raw steel. I can find no evidence of paint or plating what so ever, even behind covered mounting areas.
Brace - Shifter to Tranny Crossmember: evidence of under-carriage black paint.
Shift Selector (chrome handle mounts to this part): Raw Steel
All other parts (shifter cradle bracket and individual levers): grey phosphate plated (similar to hood hinges)

Does this sound correct to everyone? The Mounting Bracket in raw steel was a surprise as most I've seen look to be under-carriage black. Others' experience and insight is appreciated.

Again, this is not my car's original shifter. That is long gone. I'm trying to recreate what should be original for an early build, Oshawa plant, 1970 car.
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michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 9:16 PM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Re: Restoring/Detailing a Muncie 4 speed shifter

No one? Schmeh.

michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 19, 11:11 PM
Senior Tech Team
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sin City
Posts: 4,758
Re: Restoring/Detailing a Muncie 4 speed shifter

I think it's very cool that you're taking the time to document this shifter rebuild. Will absolutely benefit someone down the line.

Please keep posting your updates.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 19, 1:29 PM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Re: Restoring/Detailing a Muncie 4 speed shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete 67 View Post
I think it's very cool that you're taking the time to document this shifter rebuild. Will absolutely benefit someone down the line.

Please keep posting your updates.
Thanks, Pete.

I wasn't asking for kudos or praise, but sincerely asking for direction. I will, however, continue to document and post what I learn on this subject for the sake of others. Cheers!

michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 19, 2:28 PM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
How does it work?

Understanding how this machine works helps me to envision how it should be restored... so let me take a few moments to illustrate this item's form in relation to function.

Basic Function
This item allows the motion/position of a user's hand to translate the transmission to a selected state: Neutral, 1st gear, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & Reverse. Six possibilities, with "neutral" being a very common state, from which any other state is instantly achievable.

Elements of form
Core functionality is reduced these elements: Manual Input & Effected Output

Manual Input - the shift selector.
This is the item which is ultimately connected to the pretty chrome shift handle, which the user experiences sitting in the driver's seat. In actual appearance it is a hinged apparatus that basically moves left-right, but due to its operating in a hinged cradle, ultimately moves left-right and forward-backward. The Shift Selector moves left/right connected to the cradle, which move forward/backward. A rectilinear tang (with rounded edges) serves as the physical presence to move/shift gears. (see picture 1)

Effected Outputs - Gear Throws
The Shift Selector physically interacts with a "Gear Throw." The Gear Selector moves left/right to select the appropriate gear throw (Reverse, 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th) and then moves selected gear throw forward/backwards to select the gear, moving the throw, which is connected a rod, which moves a lever on the transmission. For a 4 speed (which actually has 5 possible gear states + neutral) there are three "gear throws". For a 3 speed there are two "gear throws".

I am illustrating a Muncie 4 speed, so there are 3 physical "gear throw" arms. From the outside of the shifter toward the transmission, those arms are labeled: 3/4 gears, 1/2 gears, reverse. (see picture 2). Each gear throw can only move forward/backward as they are hinged with Shift Selector's cradle.

In-between the in-most reverse gear throw and the 1/2 throw is a non-moving plate which establishes the "neutral" state of the shifter and transmission. This plate cannot move around the central pivot of the other throws when installed into the frame housing of these parts. This plate serves as a "zero state" for all other rotating gear throws with two cut-outs: the rectangular "neutral" cutout which the "shift selector rides in and a semi-circular cut-out which corresponds to a circular hole in frame which all the gear arms and shift selector are mounted to. When fully assembled (which hides the main rectilinear cut-out) neutral can be found by lining up the semi-circular cut-out with the sub-frame. (see picture 3)

Moving the shift selector forward ultimately moves/rotates the gear throw backwards. Reverse, 1st, and 3rd gear positions will have the shifter's gear throw arms moved rearward. 2nd and 4th find those throws moved forward. So, the shifter throws' appearance is actually opposite the direction the shift lever was moved into.

Neutral
The state of neutral is where the shift selector arm can move between all three gear throws (left/right) to select any gear (forward/backward) You can see in picture 4) how the gear selector arm fits into each gear throw cut-out.

I will add, that with out mounting to a transmission with rod linkages, consistently finding a complete neutral is hard/impossible, as all of the gear throw arms can move independently. It will be nearly impossible to find another gear since neutral's central rectilinear cut-out is out of alignment. Small point, but it will help you if you think you shifter is somehow "broken" when you receive in its unmounted state.
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michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)

Last edited by michael j; Aug 20th, 19 at 2:46 PM.
michael j is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 19, 8:46 PM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Painting vs. Plating

So... I'm going to paint this shifter rather than re-plating it for purely economic reasons. I do not have the cash, nor time to go and from for plating. With a high-end epoxy primer (Tamco DTA Epoxy) and a top coat to mimic the sheen and color of phosphate plating, I should be well covered for keeping this item looking new for years to come.

The biggest thing to consider when painting vs. the original plating is that paint can rub off on the close fitting and moving parts, causing the motion to gum up and be harder and harder to operate with use. A look at the cleaned parts readily shows the metal-on-metal wear patterns (photo 1), namely the rotation of the throws front/back. I'm going to lubricate the reassembled unit with moly-fortified grease and will leave the metal-on-metal areas as is, thus painting only the exposed areas.

I went through the trouble to mark out the metal-on-metal arch each throw shows, when I realized that it is easier to apply masking tape and physically cut the arc using the detent plate between R and 1/2 throws.(photos 2 & 3)

For all pieces, only the non-touching external surfaces will be painted. Everything internal will be masked off prior to priming/painting.(photo 4 & 5)

After epoxy priming, most pieces will be shot with Eastwood's Phosphate Gray, as it's a very close approximation to the original phosphate plating.
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michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 19, 9:21 AM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
More clean up. What do to about flash rust?

While having my frame blasted by Ace Dustless, I was introduced to product for fending off flash rust that I've never heard of: Skunk Rust. Here is a visual example of what it can do.

Show here is the bare steel mounting bracket for the shifter. After its white vinegar bath and wire brush scrub down, the bare steel flash rusted pretty quickly. I tested a small portion with a spritz of Skunk Rust and waited about 10 minutes. I wiped the area and this is the result. Pretty nice.

I've learned that misting an object lightly, waiting, then blowing dry with compressed air is the best way to go. After that, the object in question is ready for primer (no further rinsing.)
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Pete 67 likes this.

michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 25th, 19, 9:18 AM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Ideas for Tightening-up & Tips for Assembly

I've been looking to illustrate how/where a worn shifter can be tightened up. I can only see two areas.

The Handle/Input Pivot
The handle mount moves left/right slightly (following the hand motion of the chromed lever) and is pinned a cradle/hinge. If worn, this part will have a forward/backward jiggle of a few thousandths of a an inch, lending to a loose/sloppy feel. My handle feels good and tight (no wiggle), but while inspecting and cleaning it, I noticed a hardened cup washer stuck to the inside of the upper mounting cradle. see attached photo 1

If your handle is loose here, it may be possible to try a different thickness of washer to take up the slack. I have no idea where you would source such (McMaster Carr?).


Shift Lever Throws
As the shifter is opperated, the metal of the throws rotating against each other will wear against each other. There is one plate, between reverse and 1st/2nd, that can not move at all. see attached photo 2

I haven't been able to find a "service limit" definable with feeler gauges anywhere. I have found a plate similar to the one shown in photo 4 on Chicago Corvettes and eBay. It is labeled a "reverse lockout" and is available in two thickness of 5/64" and 7/64". I cannot speak to if those pieces are universal for fit in all Muncie Shifters, but the difference between 5/64" and 7/64" is about .030" which seems about right for tightening up worn shifter throws.

Tips for reassembly



For the Handle Input attached photos 3 & 4, notice how the handle input's axis pin hole is not centered in the upper cradle. This will help you orient the handle input lever, which should be centered inside the cradle. The hinge pin inserts from the back and the safety clip is visible facing forward.

The parts will generally tell you how they go back together if you look at them. As mentioned previously, the offset of the handle input's hinge hole is a clue, as is how the shift throw plates orient to each other and the lower body. Look for the rectangular "neutral" cutout and the circular notch photo 2, again.

The shifter throw order as shown previously


From left to right:
• reverse throw — longest arm length, slight offset bend toward the transmission tail
• reverse lockout plate
• 1st/2nd throw — short arm length with a slight offset bend outward
• 3rd/4th — short arm length with a larger offset bend outward

I'm using moly-grease for fresh lubrication, coating all faces that have metal-to-metal movement. Assembly gets very messy very quickly, so sadly photos were not taken. Assemble the handle input with the upper cradle. Stack the throw arms in their proper order and slide them into the lower casing. Be sure that all notches and cutouts will align correctly. Insert the handle input tongue of the upper cradle assembly into the lower casing with throw arms inserted. The goal here it align the large circular cutouts of all pieces so that the main hinge-pin can slide in. The large hinge-pin inserts from the left/outboard/driver’s side and is secured on the inboard side facing the mounting bracket.
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Pete 67 likes this.

michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 19, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Michael
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: DC Metro Area
Posts: 318
Bench Test: Assembled and Rowing!!!

The key difference between a Muncie and Hurst shifter is that the Hurst bolts directly to transmission, where as the Muncie shifter is mostly bolted to the frame via the transmission crossmember. In order to test my rebuild I had to bench assemble the transmission, the shifter AND the crossmember for in order to achieve the completely rigid support geometry:

The transmission is bolted to the crossmember.
The shifter mounting bracket is bolted to the crossmember.
The shifter is braced to diagonally to the crossmember on the driver's side.
The shifter is braced to the transmission with a rubber cushioned arm.

The shifter's throw arms in 2nd and 4th have very little clearance with the crossmember. They can actually hit the crossmember when the linkages are not attached, and this worried me. That is why this bench test was set up. It is now clear, though that when fully bolted down and supported and with correct linkages there is no clearance issue.

As stated previously, this is not my original shifter. I've had to reassemble it from parts found elsewhere. I could not find a complete set of linkages that I could be both assured were correct and afford at the same time. I may still do the long search/wait to collect an original set, however these linkages shown are Dynacorn remakes of the 1970 rods and transmission levers. At first I had alignment issues with the reverse lever and rod. In order to mount it threw the shifter's reverse throw arm WAYYYYY back, which couldn't be right. After some deliberation... I simply flipped the reverse lever on the end of its rod, using the same hole. Viola! The problem was solved.

Let me say that these Dynacorn remakes are high quality. They come with the correct swivels, the jam nuts of the correct thin-width, and the correct spacers. I got them from 4speedconversions.com

I posted a video to YouTube. See it in action!

https://youtu.be/bMDOr81m9Kk
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michael j (your mileage may vary.)

1970 Chevelle SS396 - "Elektra"
Canadian built true SS, L34, bucket seats, 4 speed, Posi, console, deep fathom blue with white interior, white vinyl top and white stripes.

1980 El Camino
229 V6, 200C Metric (soon to have a 200-4R)
michael j is offline  
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